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EMBO J. 1989 Jul;8(7):1915-8.

A point mutation in the gene for the large subunit of ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase affects holoenzyme assembly in Nicotiana tabacum.

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Department of Plant Genetics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


In photosynthetic eukaryotes, the enzyme ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) is composed of eight large and eight small subunits. Chloroplast-coded large subunits are found in association with chaperonins (binding proteins) of 60-61 kd to form a high mol. wt pre-assembly complex (B-complex). We have isolated a heterotrophic, maternally-inherited mutant from Nicotiana tabacum var. Xanthi which accumulates the B-complex but contains no Rubisco holoenzyme. The B-complex of the mutant dissociates in the presence of ATP, as does that of the wild-type. Processing of the nuclear-coded small subunit takes place in the mutant and neither large nor small subunits accumulate. The large subunit gene from mutant and wild-type plants was cloned and sequenced. A single nucleotide difference was found between them predicting an amino acid change of serine to phenylalanine at position 112 in the mutant. Based on the resolved structure of N.tabacum Rubisco, it is argued that the alteration at position 112 prevents holoenzyme assembly by interfering with large subunit assembly.

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